Tracking Referrers

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 07/12/2005

I’m starting my googling on the different methods out there to track referrers. I feel that tracked referrer data is the richest and most interesting base of information to mine for SEO. So, the data needs to be accessible. Many systems just put the information to you automatically, by showing the raw referrer list, sometimes even on the page being referred-to, creating a strange feedback loop. One of the first ones I found was Blogtricks.

I also found the Disenchanted site, which hasn’t extracted and repackaged their script, but does offer it as a feature on their website. It’s interesting for examination. They require 2 people to have followed the link, and they have a 20 minute “cache.”

Not everyone is featuring it as a feature of their site, but some people are tracking their referrers. I found it odd that Brent Ashley, the person who gave the world an easy way to do Remote Scripting before Ajax became so popluar, actually noticed my blog and posted a comment. Well, when I started looking at my own referrers, lo and behold, there was a Bret’s referrer page.

Some people also make their WebTrend reports public, hoping to use security through obscurity. The problem there is that as soon as you click the link to visit a referrer, you are tipping off people like Brent and myself that the referrer page exists, and it is no longer private. I toyed with the idea of googling up a bunch of sites that do this and linking to them in order to get the reciprocal link. But after a bit of checking, the PR of these sites is not worth it. It’s a waste of time, and as pointless as begging for reciprocal links in this day and age.